DANCE: kicking their brains out in Riverdance

Three ways Riverdance is like the Titanic:

1. It’s really big and long.

2. It’s filled with Irish.

3. The conclusion is inevitable.

The Titanic ended by sinking. Riverdance ends with everybody in a giant line, arms linked, reels and jigs raging full-on and they’re step dancing their brains out. All else – the fog and the flutes, the comely maidens faire, the pipes piping down glen to glen and where’s Glen – are preamble to the Celtic equivalent of the Chorus Girls kickline.

If you’ve never see it before, please do so before you go down with the proverbial ship if life, won’t you. Scoff it you like, but it’s thrilling. Riverdance opens an eight-show run at the Jubilee Auditorium tonight. This thing was supposed to be doing its farewell tour a few years ago, but obviously can’t keep a good kickline down. The Broadway Across Canada production has been drawing rave reviews and packed houses from coast to coast. Just check out these glowing review blurbs we pulled hastily from the Internet:

“An explosion of sight and sound that simply takes your breath away,” cheers the Chicago Tribune.

“A family evening unlike anything else!” raves The London Times.

“Hooray for the Irish!” toots the Edmonton Sun.

There you have it. Riverdance has a long and rich history, of course. It originated in the early ‘80s with in an Irish folk band featuring songwriters Bill Whelan and Donal Lunny. It added more dancers and became a success on TV. One of the dancers, one Michael Flatley, became so good that he crowned himself Lord of the Dance and there was an Irish dance schism. Much blood was shed. Well, leotards torn, anyway. Ironically, it was the success of Lord of the Dance that allowed even greater success of the many subsequent Riverdance and Lord of the Dance Minus Flatley productions – and now this little idea of combining dance with Irish folk music has become ubiquitous in pop culture. You’d have to be living in a hole not to at least know about the existence of Riverdance – sort of like the Titanic.

Tickets start at $63, available online here.